"I think the market for Black women was ignored because you would then have to acknowledge that Black women are beautiful..." -Melissa Butler
BET recently premiered their latest digital original, The Glam Gap. In the debut episode of the four part series, various Black beauty experts and researchers sat down to discuss the power of the Black dollar, and the importance of inclusion in the industry.
"It was almost as if Black women didn't exist in the beauty industry," Melissa Butler, CEO of The Lip Bar said. "So as a Black woman, naturally I'm frustrated because I don't see myself [being marketed], and I don't see representation of women who look like me, my sister or my mother."
In an effort to blur (or rather, blend) the lines between product options and an increase in consumerism from women of color, major beauty retailers have found themselves expanding their palette to better reflect their customers.
"Black women spend about $233 million dollars a year total in the cosmetic industry category. That's about 11% of the total spending in the [cosmetics] industry. So considering we make 14% of the US population, and we're spending 11% total of this category, it's pretty significant," Cheryl Grace, SVP of Community Alliance & Consumer Engagement at Nielsen, disclosed.
The shift in business marketing is a crucial one, as it was revealed that Black women spend approximately $7.5 billon annually on beauty products, this including not just cosmetic products, but skin and hair as well.
"Essence did a study about Black women and their spending patterns as it relates to cosmetics. Black women buy up to 80% more makeup, because think about it, if you can't find your shade, you're buying one, two, three, or four shades. Where as a white woman is probably just buying one. So it's like you're spending four times more on foundation," freelance beauty editor and brand consultant, Janell Hickman, revealed.
Of brands studied, 73% show a higher sense of brand loyalty among African American women compared to white women. It was also revealed that 43% of millennials identify as Black American and non-white Hispanic.
"I think the market for Black women was ignored because you would then have to acknowledge that Black women are beautiful... and while I'm happy that inclusion is at the forefront, I'm hoping that it's sincerely not a trend," Butler stated.
Watch the full episode of part 1 of The Glam Gap above!
Tune into The Glam Gap every Wednesday at 3pm ET, only on BET Digital!